The Panama Berry – Muntingia calabura

Written by fruit   // 06/04/2007   // 0 Comments

This article is taken from the 'Daley News' – April 2007. 

I have a panama berry tree in my home orchard and it is one of my most favourite trees, especially at the moment when it is fruiting. 


The trees are exceptionally attractive with long spreading branches that often droop down to the ground and soft weeping foliage. Trees are very fast growing and will fruit in their first year. They can grow 5-10m in ideal conditions but respond well to being cut back so it is possible to keep them smaller than this making it easier to browse on the tempting little fruits. 

Panama berries will happily grow and fruit in large containers provided they have a good quality mix and a healthy layer of organic mulch to hold the moisture in. 

The small fruits hang hidden under the leaves of the tree, I have found that the birds have not yet discovered the joys of the panama berry at my place. They are about the size of a small cherry and are very sweet, the tiny fine seeds are edible and give a light texture to the fruit. 

The flowers and fruits are produced gradually so there is never an over abundance of panama berries, making it a perfect snacking tree. It is the ideal backyard tree if you have children as it is a lovely little shade tree as well as producing tempting little sweet treats. 

If your panama berries should ever make it in to your kitchen they can be used to make jams, tarts or added into fruit salads and eaten fresh. 

In Brazil trees are planted on river banks so that they hang out over the water, their fallen fruit attracts fish which are then caught by the fishermen under the shade of the tree. 


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